As a parent, placing your young child in infant care in the years before he or she begins attending school is one of the biggest decisions you'll face. You want not only a care provider that will give your child an engaging and safe environment, but also staff members who will foster educational and social concepts. The best approach is to talk to other parents for recommendations and then visit a handful of infant care providers in your community to get a tour and have some questions answered. Beyond the basic questions relating to cost, schedule and programming that currently fill your head, here are three other valuable questions to discuss.
What's Your Policy On Discipline?
Regardless of how you approach discipline with your child, it's important that the infant care center has a policy in alignment with what you believe. Ideally, your child won't have to contend with discipline issues very often, but if instances arise, you need to know the approach that will be taken. Ask if staff put the child on a timeout and how that procedure goes and determine if you're kept abreast of all disciplinary issues. Beyond discipline for your own child, it's important to know that the center has a clear structure in place to ensure that other children are handled appropriately too.
What's The Staff-To-Infant Ratio, And Is It Firm?
A highly proficient infant care center maintains a low staff-to-infant ratio; that is, there will often be only a couple children per staff member in order to ensure all children have direct supervision at all times. When you ask this question, you want to hear that the center has a clear and firm policy in place. If there's no policy, you have no guarantee that your child will receive the care he or she deserves if there's a spike in enrollment after you sign up your child.
How Do You Track Each Child's Accomplishments?
Because effective infant care centers have an educational component, even if it's very basic for young children, it's important to ask about how the center's staff members track the progress of each child. Simple accomplishments such as sharing, crawling, and standing are all important to track, as this information helps to show you that the staff members are paying careful attention to your child and his or her progress. Having a system that tracks your child's accomplishments ensures the care center is actively encouraging and tracking the progression of children.